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News
Mar 31 2015
Youth Courts of Alaska Students Train to be Leaders PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 31 March 2015

students_from_across_alaska_at_youth_court_conference.jpeg

Students across Alaska gather in Kodiak for Youth Court training conference. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

 

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

 

The United Youth Courts of Alaska is notable for encouraging youth leadership in the legal system and students' own communities. Branches from across Alaska flew into Kodiak last Thursday for the 20th Annual United Youth Courts of Alaska Conference.

 

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In Alaska, some minors may face their classmates when being sentenced for misdemeanors and crimes. Youth Court students train as attorneys, bailiffs, and judges in order to issue sentences to fellow students who have committed either status offenses, like possession of tobacco, or crimes like theft. Deborah Bitanga is a senior at Kodiak High School and the vice president of the Kodiak Teen Court Bar and the board. 

 

She says community service is one possible sentence.

   

 “We also give them essays, and some creative ones is creating a powerpoint or doing a research about the negative affects of a marijuana or other drugs with the body," says Bitanga. "Like, for stealing, we could research on how stealing could affect the economy of the town or something like that.”

Youth Court students learn about creative sentencing as part of their training at the Annual Youth Court Conference. They fly to a different location every year, and this time they chose Kodiak.

 

Students meet for two whole days of speeches and forums designed to inform and educate them about the court system and the young people they sentence.

 

Among the forums this year are “The Youth Brain,” “Creative Sentence” and “Restorative Justice.”

 

Darlene Turner is the program manager for Kodiak Teen Court. She says that the key phrase is “restorative” justice as opposed to punitive justice.

 

“There's not just the consequences but competency development so that the person is being educated. Not just them, but their parents," says Turner.

 

She says youth attorneys communicate with the off enders' families. One of the forums this year is “Parenting with Love and Limits,” where students learn how to speak with families and suggest solutions like a counseling program.

 

One of the  vital skills Youth Court members take away from lectures is a fine  tuned understanding of the offenders and their situations.

 

And Turner says that it's very appropriate for young people to sentence their peers.

 

“Youth listen to youth much better. They speak to each other better," says Turner. "So a lot of times a youth offender will certainly talk to their attorneys and tell them things that they would never tell you or me.”

 

Turner says that students also learn to be leaders.

 

“The more you empower a youth to do something, the more they achieve.”

 

The Youth Court changes the students on both sides of the case. Eli Heinrich from Kenai is in his fourth year of Youth Court. He says that the greatest benefit is the affect the Court has on the young offenders.

"It's kind of a system that gives kids a second chance with the record and the effects of what they've done wrong," says Heinrich. "Which is probably the best aspect of youth court. It keeps them out of the adult court, it keeps the misdemeanor off the record.”


Youth Court students had a chance to exchange those thoughts at this weekend's Conference. Madison Stites from Fairbanks is in 8th grade and has been training for Youth Court for five months.

“The conference is for all of us to come together and see what our experiences are together and how we can improve all of this and make our youth system better," says Stites.

 

The conference concluded on Saturday night and the visiting Youth Court groups flew back on Sunday.

 
Mar 27 2015
Senate Subcommittee Zeroes Out Public Broadcasting Funds PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 March 2015
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Alexandra Gutierrez/APRN
Earlier this month, public broadcasting survived an effort in the House to slash its state funding by half. Now, a subcommittee in the Senate has axed the appropriation entirely. 
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Mat-Su Republican Mike Dunleavy chairs the Department of Administration subcommittee, and he warned the cuts would be deep before announcing them at a Thursday meeting. 

“There’s going to be a lot of good programs across the board that may not be funded,” Dunleavy said. “And as we go through this, it’s not necessarily a judgment on those programs, but it has to do with the fact that we may not have the money to pay for everything.”

Juneau Democrat Dennis Egan attempted to restore $5 million in funding to the budget proposal. 

“I am a 45-year private sector broadcaster. I programmed, managed, and owned a bunch of private stations here in Southeast Alaska and in Anchorage,” Egan said. “And here I am, speaking up for public broadcasting, because I am not sure everyone realizes how much is going to be lost.”

Egan noted that the cuts would cause stations in Kodiak, Homer, Petersburg, Valdez, Haines, Ketchikan, Wrangell and Kenai to also lose their federal funding. He said rural communities could lose their emergency alert system, and that public television coverage of the Legislature would be threatened. 

Egan's amendment failed three to one, with all the Republican members voting against it. 

The department budget will now be sent to the full Senate Finance Committee. If the cut holds there, the House will have to approve it or a compromise will have to be hammered out in a conference committee. 
 
Mar 27 2015
'Choose Respect' March on Saturday in Kodiak PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 March 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT
You may see a group of people marching downtown on Saturday. And you may want to join them. 
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The Kodiak Women's Resource and Crisis Center has scheduled its annual Choose Respect march for 11am that morning. Part-time Outreach Coordinator, Lauren Humphrey, describes the goal of the event.

“To bring awareness to domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, bullying, any kind of violence in our community and to get people to stand up and support preventative tactics and education to prevent this in our community.

Marchers will begin with a short walk downtown starting from the Sun'naq Tribal Center and then circling back around. An assembly will follow where attendees will hear several speeches, eat cake, and view related art. 

Outreach Coordinator Sandra Wilkins says the march and the organization are both inclusive.

“We're hoping also to raise awareness about the type of people that we serve. It's not just for women. I know the name is a little deceiving, but we want to make sure that male community members feel supported by us as well.”

To learn more about the Kodiak Women's Resource and Crisis Center, you can go to kwrcc.org or call them, 486-6171. 
 
Mar 27 2015
Alaska's Fishiest Artist Coming to Kodiak PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 March 2015
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Jay Barrett and Kayla Desroches/KMXT
 
If the name Ray Troll doesn't sound familiar, you're likely brand new to Alaska, though you've probably still seen his artwork on t-shirts, sweatshirts, calendars, posters, postcards, art galleries, in books, and elsewhere. 
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The Ketchikan artist, who will be conducting workshops in Kodiak next month, is known for his luminescent scenes of fish, science and humor. 

“Let's see, how to describe my art style, Well, there's a lot of fish. That's pretty much the first thing a lot of people notice," Troll said. "But themes. The great themes. … And then also silly humor. It really goes from the sublime to the ridiculous or from the slime to the ridiculous. And all kinds of puns throughout, wordplay and that kind of stuff, lotta what I do.”

The Kodiak Public Library, the Kodiak Public Library Association and the Kodiak Reading Council have banded together to fly Troll into town. Library Director Katie Baxter says Troll's illustrated books are a great jumping off point to engage young readers.

“They're so engaging and playful and that's why I'm so excited to invite Ray to come and just be playful with all things fish and just stir up the imagination with language and art techniques,” Baxter said

While here in early April, Troll will have a busy schedule with students, public presentations and workshops.

“So I'm going to be doing a  presentation there, a public talk and slide show and all the crazy things I do," Troll said. "And that's going to be Friday evening, and then Friday during the day – that's in a couple weeks here, I'll be at a couple different schools, the junior high school and the high school, and likewise doing kind of a slideshow, one about sharks to the middle school and one about my career to the high school kids and a thing to the general public on Friday night. And then on Saturday I'm doing a bunch of drawing workshops.”

The first class will be for ages 7 to 13 from 10 a.m. to noon. The second class will be for ages 14 and up from 2 to 4:30 p.m. There will be a $25 fee for materials.
 
Mar 27 2015
Kids Set to Walk and Roll PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 March 2015
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Jay Barrett/KMXT
Getting kids up and about is becoming a little harder every year as smart phones, video games and social media tend to root them in place. But a program by the Island Trails Network for middle school and elementary students is aimed at getting them on their walking OR rolling to or from school, or, as Tom Pogson tells us, really anywhere.
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Pogson says there will be gatherings at the schools for the classes with the top walkers and that teachers will help keep track of the kids' activity.

Island Trails organized a Walk and Roll to School last fall when school was getting underway, and it proved successful enough that it was brought back by popular demand.

The Spring Walk and Roll to School begins on April 2nd, and ends on the 17th. Parents can get more information from their kids' teachers, or at IslandTrails.org. 
 
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